CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - What started out as a possible three-launch day is down to zero after SpaceX, Blue Origin and ULA called off their missions for Tuesday due to technical and weather issues.
SpaceX scrubbed its first national security launch for the U.S. Air Force with a GPS satellite just after 9:30 a.m. due to a faulty reading on one of the rocket sensors.
The Falcon 9 and the U.S. Air Force’s Global Positioning System III satellite remain healthy, SpaceX said in a tweet.
The commercial company will try again Wednesday. The launch window opens at 9:07 a.m.
Vice President Mike Pence was at NASA's Kennedy Space Center to watch the national security mission liftoff. After the delay, Pence announced that President Trump has launched the Pentagon's new Space Command, which will oversee U.S. military space activities in space. Read more details of the U.S. Space Command here.
Blue Origin also scrubbed its launch Tuesday morning, scheduled for 9:30 a.m. ET, of its reusable New Shepard rocket due to a ground infrastructure issue, company officials said.
Company officials said they are monitoring the weather to see if a liftoff Wednesday is possible.
We are scrubbing today’s #NewShepard launch due to a ground infrastructure issue. The vehicle is in good standing. Stand by for updates as we see what weather looks like for tomorrow #NS10 — Blue Origin (@blueorigin) December 18, 2018
The United Launch Alliance was targeting Tuesday evening to launch a secret spy satellite for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
However, a few hours before the Delta 4-Heavy was scheduled for liftoff ULA officials announced the launch was scrubbed due to high ground winds.
ULA will try again Wednesday when the forecast improves. Air Force weather officials are predicting an 80 percent chance of favorable weather for launch.
The new launch window opens at 8:44 p.m. ET (5:44 p.m. PT).
Check back for more details.
Three different private U.S. companies will each launch a rocket from a different state Tuesday.
Find a roundup below of where and when to watch SpaceX, Blue Origin and United Launch Alliance liftoffs happening in a span of 12 hours Tuesday.
Vice president to attend SpaceX launch
SpaceX kicks off the triple threat of launches Tuesday with its first national security space launch with the U.S. Air Force’s Global Positioning System III satellite.
The Falcon 9 rocket’s 20-minute launch window from Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station opens at 9:11 a.m. ET, but the launch has been pushed to 9:34 a.m. due to upper-level winds. The brand-new rocket will launch the spacecraft Satellite Vehicle O1 nicknamed "Vespucci" in honor of the Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci.
The Lockheed Martin-made satellite is the first of the U.S. Air Force’s third-generation GPS satellites.
Air Force weather officials are predicting a 90 percent chance of favorable launch weather at the Cape. The launch will be streamed live on SpaceX's website.
SpaceX does not plan to land the Falcon 9 booster, because it will require all of its fuel to carry the 8,533-pound satellite to medium Earth orbit.
Among the launch spectators on Tuesday will be Vice President Mike Pence. While at Kennedy Space Center, the second in command will announce President Donald Trump’s plans to sign an executive order before the end of the year creating a U.S. Space Command as a major military command.
Trump could sign the order as soon as Tuesday.
Blue Origin launching UCF, UF experiments in Texas
A short time later on Tuesday, a few states to the west, Blue Origin plans to relaunch its reusable New Shepard rocket with science payloads from NASA’s Flight Opportunities program.
Two of those experiments are from Florida universities. The University of Central Florida’s Collisions Into Dust Experiment, or COLLIDE, microgravity test looks at how particles react in space. The University of Florida’s experiment is testing a biological fluorescent imaging device developed for the International Space Station. The principal investigators want to adapt the instrument for experiments lower than the edge of space, known as suborbital.
Both UCF and UF groups recently sent experiments up on the first successful spaceflight for Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo. The space plane, operated by two pilots, reached the edge of space 50 miles above Earth.
New Shepard will launch from the company’s West Texas launch facilities after 9:30 a.m. ET, or 8:30 a.m. CT. Blue Origin plans to stream the launch live on its website.
ULA to launch top secret mission in California
Capping off a busy day of launch activities, United Launch Alliance plans to send up a secret spy satellite for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office using its Delta 4-Heavy rocket.
ULA is targeting 8:57 p.m. ET, or 5:57 p.m. PT, to launch the NROL-71 mission from Space Launch Complex 6 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
The rocket configuration is the largest of the Delta 4 series with three booster cores.
The forecast calls for a 20 percent chance of good conditions for launch, according to Air Force weather officials.
ULA plans to livestream the NROL-71 launch at 8:37 p.m., but for security purposes will cut off the video about six minutes after launch.
Check back for updates throughout the day Tuesday and watch all three launches live here on ClickOrlando.com/space.
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